Within the vast world of watches, Omega holds a unique position as a do-it-all watchmaker of sorts, given their varied line, consisting of a broad range of timepieces many of which have become remarkable vintage watches.
Over the years, they’ve been behind some of the most remarkable vintage watches and most important developments in watchmaking as a whole, along with some of the most important timepieces, and a laundry list of groundbreaking calibers.
Originally founded by Louis Brandt in 1848 under the name La Generale Watch Co, the company began its legendary story with the production of precise, key-wound pocket watches, sold primarily in the English market. With the passing of a few decades, Brandt’s two sons brought the company’s movement production manufacturing in house, which led to the company rebranding as the Omega Watch Co in 1903.
Following this, the company would begin to produce what are now regarded as some of the most influential movement designs of all time, including the Lemania-based, column wheel Cal. 321 chronograph, the time only workhorse Cal. 30T2, and even one of the first tourbillon-equipped wristwatch calibers — the Cal. 30-I. Given their knack for producing precision instruments, their calibers were often regarded as benchmarks during industry-wide “Observatory” trials held in Neuchatel. This innovative spirit has been kept alive to this day with the continued production of Co-Axial escapement equipped movements, based on George Daniels’ design.
Another reason why Omega is so revered today by wristwatch connoisseurs and the average consumer alike, is their status as one of the premier manufacturers of professional watches, so to speak and a result a maker of many remarkable vintage watches . Throughout history, they have been the go-to watchmaker for both militaries and notable government organizations when the need for a capable watch arose. As many will know, Omega produced wristwatches for several world defence organizations on a number of occasions, starting with the British Royal Flying Corps in 1917, followed by the American Army in 1918. Omega’s relationship with the British Ministry of Defence would continue as the years passed, with the production of custom built “Dirty Dozen” wristwatches during World War II, and military-spec Seamaster 300’s for Royal Navy divers throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s.
This of course was also the case when NASA set out to outfit their astronauts with a timepiece to accompany them on the Apollo 11 mission of 1969. After thoroughly testing a series of sports chronographs readily available on the market at the time, the Speedmaster Professional was deemed the most fit for the journey to the Moon, thanks to its stellar combination of legibility, reliability, and durability. This afforded the premier Omega chronograph an entirely new reputation as the “Moon watch,” and the only watch qualified for space flight by NASA, as opposed to the original intention of it being a chronograph to be used by racing drivers and motoring enthusiasts truly Making Omega a manufacturer of remarkable vintage watches.
It’s hard to argue with the sheer amount of historical and horological importance Omega brings to the table, making the purchase of any an exceedingly good decision. Just like with all vintage watches, truly great examples are becoming tougher to find every day, making now a better time than ever to add a vintage Omega to your collection.